Why are French women such bitches?

(Katie S. from Stanford, CA but currently in France)

I am an American student living in France – from Paris to Arles to Marseille to Strasbourg. I have found that everywhere I go, French women are cold to me – especially, but not exclusively, if I am dating a guy that they know. Could you explain why? Is it a French woman Vs American woman thing? Or just a French women in general thing? What is the general conception of American women among French women?

Mmmm…. I’m afraid it’s gonna be hard for me to respond to such a question without making generalizations, or without giving my opinion.

So, I simply won’t answer the question…

Got you…

Ok, so what’s wrong with French women? Why are they such bitches to American women?
Seriously, it will be very hard to not generalize on this one, because there are as many different type of French woman as there are French women.

But I’ll try to draw a few trends.
So we can say that French women are cold to you for three reasons roughly. Any individual being cold to you may be fitting in one, two or the three categories.

-The First one has nothing to do really with the fact that they are women, but everything to do with the fact that they are French. See, I’m not sure how old you are, but in France, French people tend to find all of their friends for life before the age of 20ish (let’s make it 25 max.)
From birth to that age, French people tend to make all of their friends, and keep them for life. That doesn’t mean that all the friends they make during these years will become friends for life, it means that all of the friends they have when they’re adults, they usually met at some point between age 0 and age 25.
Of course, they can make friends after age 25, but it rarely happens, and when it does, they never become real close friends like the other ones, just people you hang out with.
So, some of these women just have no interest in befriending you because they have their friends for life already and don’t feel like making new friends.
One can also notice that past that age, women will sometimes make male friends, and men will still make female friends, but most of the time it’s because they need to have a list of potential partners, even if they’re not single at the moment (not every French person is like that, but believe me, I know a lot), and I’m not sure we can really call that “friendship” even if they’ll tell you otherwise.
This is also why women don’t really like new women in their social group, and men don’t really like new men, it’s because they’re afraid they can mean trouble (they know, because they do the same).

-Second: the woman thing. Yep, women are strange. They don’t really like to have other women they don’t know too well around. See, women are insecure creatures that see competition everywhere, especially in other women. So every time they meet another woman, they’re afraid that the new woman will threaten them one way or the other, it can go from stealing their boyfriend/husband to wearing the same dress at a dinner party, and more generally speaking: unbalance the fragile balance of her social life (especially if the new woman is thinner, younger, and/or prettier than they are).
For that reason, women really don’t like having new women in their social circle, even less than men dislike having new men in theirs (at least with new men, one can do cool stuff like watching sports, go fishing, you name it).

-Third: the American factor. Yes, some French people are plainly anti-American for many reasons I don’t necessarily need to list here, that includes a certain number of French women, and they’d be cold to you even if you were a men.

And as said before these three factors can be combined at will. You see how factor 1 and 2 can be combined easily, but 2 and 3 combine well too.
Especially because for some reason, French women (and men too I guess) have this image of American women being very secure, sure of themselves and stuff.
Of course, they’re as insecure as French women, but French women don’t know it. So they resent American women for being so secure when they can’t be.
And that leads to funny behaviors and misunderstandings between French women and American women.
Because for the most part, American women tend to try to hide their insecurities by being extremely nice and smiling, like way too much for French standards, and French women tend to try to hide their insecurities by being complete bitches, way too much for American standards, most of them thinking that being a bitch equals showing you have a personality.

Of course, secure American women tend to be a bit bitchy, secure French women tend to be nicer than average.
You can see where it leads in terms of misunderstandings and such.

I could go into more details, but I’m afraid this entry will get me the chauvinist pig blogger award and I don’t need this now that I’ve been classified as a potential war starter.

(ok, I can’t help it, I’ll go into more details in the comment section if necessary)

P.S. A somewhat similar question was asked some time ago, you can read the answer here.

More Questions Answered:

Frenchman Written by:

31 Comments

  1. Frou Frou
    February 5, 2009
    Reply

    I love this part:
    “Because for the most part, American women tend to try to hide their insecurities by being extremely nice and smiling, like way too much for French standards, and French women tend to try to hide their insecurities by being complete bitches, way too much for American standards, most of them thinking that being a bitch equals showing you have a personality.”

    Sometimes when I get screwed, yelled at etc., I start to feel like an idiot for being nice!!! Like the naivest creature! And I get angry and bitchy! Now I can tell myself – hey darling, be nice, you are secure, they are not!:)

  2. Ksam
    February 5, 2009
    Reply

    I'm making a HUGE generalization here, but in my experience, a lot of French women tend to be threatened by foreigners. We are different & thus interesting, and considering the fact that having "petites aventures" is a much more widely accepted thing here, they block us out in order to protect their territory. By having you around, they are opening themselves up to not be the most interesting & most attractive person in the room – and that goes against everything they have been taught from day one. But again, this is just my opinion….

  3. Leesa
    February 7, 2009
    Reply

    Not sure about this… but your ideas seem to make sense, Frenchman… I tend to make friends wherever I go, though… So, I haven’t had this problem… I know just as many French women as foreigners here in France… and I have more friends that Alex has made in his life… Well, Alex and I are different personalities and I am extremely extroverted… But, I “meet” people everywhere I go here in France… Meeting people, I know… is NOT the same as making a friend, that is for sure… But, I have a lot of French ‘friends’ that I can call friends, because I have close bonds to them.. They are all SUPER nice and very wonderful people… Even sometimes nicer than my friends in the States… I consider myself very fortunate to have made friends here with people of all different nationalities… It’s just nice having friends…
    I think that what Sam says may be true (maybe more in her age group since she is a lot younger than I am!). Also, I have met a lot of people through work and we have become “friends” as a result….
    I find that American women (the ones in the States NOT the ones I have met here) can be very neurotic, superficial, fake, flaky, etc… It’s part of the culture in California… but that is also probably why the majority of my friends in the States were always foreigners!!!!!

  4. Leesa
    February 7, 2009
    Reply

    P.S. Alex would like to know if the girl who asked the question speaks French at all– fluently or somewhat?
    I know Sam has no problem communicating in French but I am just wondering if others who live here who aren’t making friends – is it because they don’t speak the language?! Just curious… Thanks… Leesa

  5. Andrea
    February 7, 2009
    Reply

    C’mon Leesa, you know you’re the exception to the rule 😉

  6. Leesa
    February 8, 2009
    Reply

    Hehe… Andrea, you may be right on that! I have always been the exception to every rule! ; )

  7. Ksam
    March 3, 2009
    Reply

    Frenchman!! First of all, you really need to get rid of the spam pop-ups on your blog! It’s enough to make me stop leaving comments! lol

    Second of all, that’s exactly why I stopped allowing anonymous comments on my blog. I don’t mind if people have their own opinions and they disagree with me, but they should at least own up to it. I mean, if you’re going to post a comment, at least stand behind it, right??

  8. Verena
    September 28, 2009
    Reply

    OMG! way to stir the pot! Frenchman, are you 100% french? just curious.
    in any case, i loved your little informal study on french vs. american women relations. of course, as you stated, it's impossible not to generalize…
    étant franco-américaine et ayant vécu le même nombre d'années à Paris et à NY, je dois dire que tu es pretty spot on in certain areas, espesh the part about making friends early on. je crois qu'après 18 ans, l'expérience scolaire (et de vie) n'est pas du tout la même pour les français et les américains, et ceci joue un grand rôle dans leur socialization.
    it's funny, one of the common complaints the french have of the americans is that they seem to be so "superficial". this itself, i believe, is something lost in translation. it's uncool to be so "nice" in paris (i won't generalize to france, everyone knows the people en province are much nicer!). come on, no one is THAT nice! eet eez imposseebeul! ergo: it must be fake. guess what? americans are the big babies of the world, and i love'em for it. they tend to act without thinking, which has, lately, under the bush Residency, gotten them in a lot of trouble, but let's not forget that at other times, it has allowed them to save countries. like france.
    the french rock in their own way, it's just a little harder to pierce that shell sometimes. hey, everybody's got insecurities, is what it boils down to. and everybody should relax!
    erg. i'm sorry this comment is so long and disorganized, there is too much to talk about, and i am too tired, but thanks for listening!
    bises,
    V

  9. September 28, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks for your comment Verena, but please remember that this blog is for anglophones, so as little French as possible in need is what we want.

    And yes, I'm 100% French (but I've spent 7 years in the US, and I've studied Americans one way or the other for about 15 years).

    Also America has never, I underline 'never' saved a country "without thinking" and out of kindness, regardless of what American propaganda may say about the topic. 😉

  10. Verena
    September 28, 2009
    Reply

    hi frenchman,
    i know, i know, but while we were all generalizing, i thought i could throw that in… 😉
    bonne nuit,
    V

  11. E
    October 14, 2009
    Reply

    Hi. Just stumbled onto your blog. Very interesting reading.

    I think your sentiments are dead on in this post. Of course, you are generalizing. I happen to generally agree. Obviously there will be exceptions, but I think it's a fair enough generalization and certainly true to my own experiences. Although I've never found French women to be particularly bitchy, I do not go to France looking for my BFF either. So maybe I'm a little extra bitchy/cold, so we get along fine. I don't know. I find overly friendly people extremely off-putting so I guess my sensibilities work well in France in that regard.

    Last spring I had an interesting encounter with a French couple while I was abroad (in Rome). Although my interactions with French people have been overwhelmingly positive, this one was strange. Perhaps it being outside of France played into it. Or, perhaps it was a matter of the individuals involved. Still, if this had been my only interaction with French women, I might have walked away thinking French women trend toward bitchiness more than I feel they actually do.

    The couple were staying at the same hotel as my father and me. Nothing would have seemed exceptional about them except that whenever I entered the breakfast room I would receive glacial stares from the girlfriend. That certainly caught my attention within the first 5 seconds of entering the room on the first day. I couldn't imagine how I'd done something so offensive.

    I did notice the guy look at me a few times, but nothing significant. Seriously, just the sort of passing look anyone gives to anyone else in a crowded room, in my opinion. Maybe a few times more, but nothing serious. He wasn't leering or overly interested and just behaved like anyone would in polite society. Honestly, he exhibited what I've come to believe are the very nice manners of the French (somewhat bucking the cliche, I know).

    Later during our stay I bumped into the boyfriend while waiting for the elevator. He was very polite and we made small talk (in the presence of my FATHER). He didn't speak a lot of English and I speak even less French. However, we had a common interest (the marathon) so I was interested in what he had to say.

    His girlfriend got caught in the elevator and went up. Rather than staying on the floor she came back down (in the teeny tiny elevator) to chaperone her boyfriend back up. My dad made fun of her about it to her boyfriend, which was bad form since the boyfriend spoke English and she did not. Basically, my dad was commenting on how sweet it was of her to come back down with the elevator. Of course, neither of them might have picked up on my dad's nuanced poking. Still, even he thought it was a bit funny in the situation.

    Throughout our stay I truly got the sense that she thought I might jump her boyfriend if I were given half a chance. (I would not have.) It was just one of those strange, one-off things but it has sort of stuck with me. No idea why. Sorry for rambling. Your post just brought it all to the fore.

    Looking forward to following your blog.

  12. October 14, 2009
    Reply

    Hi E,
    Thanks for your comment.
    I'm not sure what to tell you except that she was of the overly jealous type.

  13. Arthur
    January 1, 2010
    Reply

    I lived in NYC for 20 years and found that whenever I had a French waitress or hostess that they were always cold to my dates, no matter if they were white or Asian or whatever. I don't think French women like competition any more that other women, but they are at least honest about it–unlike so many of the American women I have been around who are so PC to everyone's face and then talk trash later. I love French women; they like being women, they like men, they like me, and they aren't afraid to admit it. In addition, the French women I have met are not materialistic, especially compared to their American sisters. So, I say 'vive la difference'! Finally, American women in my substantial experience, no matter what they say or act like, hate foreign women, so why is it a shock that living in France as an American women would result in French women wanting nothing to do with you–it seems a bit naive–sorry. France is a wonderful place to live so forget these jealous women and enjoy what you have :).

  14. Cat
    May 3, 2011
    Reply

    I have never had this problem…does this mean I look like a troll? lol

  15. Cece
    May 14, 2011
    Reply

    I have been working with this one French woman for almost 7 years now in an office setting in NYC. And she is the true definition of big time French bitch. She is almost 30 but her attitude is more like a 17 spoiled brat. At first I thought that she was just a quiet lady and that the other ladies in the office just hated her because she was younger. But they were right, she is a French bitch. She is quiet because she does not want to talk to any body. She never greets any body good morning and never even smiles. She chain smokes and takes long cigarette breaks. The only people who she will talk to are the gay guys who work in the office because they smoke too and they will listen to all of her complaining. They complain together about how they hate work and make snobby comments about the clothing that the other women in the office are wearing. I wish she would go back to France if she hates it so much. She can take that Paris attitude and shove it up her snobby mentally sick ass.

    I have been to France a few times and have known some French people, both in NYC and in France. I find that the French ladies who follow the Parisian attitude way of living are some of the most soul less people on the planet. The French women who do not “perform” the Parisian way of life are just nice typical Euro ladies.

    What I want to know about those soul less Parisian lifestyle people, when they reflect back on their life, do they really want to be remembered for snobby soul less chain smoking bitchy ways? Wouldn’t it be better to be remembered for a life that brought smiles and some cheer to yourself and others?

    • Frenchman
      May 14, 2011
      Reply

      Amen to that.

      And to answer your question, “nice” is not a positive trait to have in Paris. Parisian tend to equate it to being stupid, so very few want to be remembered as being nice.

  16. Stellar
    July 1, 2011
    Reply

    My husband and I live in NYC and two years ago a French couple moved in below us. The wife is a piece of work. When she does speak, she only directs her comments to my husband and acts as if I do not exist. In fact, she foolishly invited my husband (who is from Southern Europe) over for cocktails-but he declined as the invitation was not extended to me as well. Both the husband and wife came to a cocktail party of another neighbor and the wife stood in the room full of mostly American adults and proceeded to spew the most vile stereotypes about American people–for instance, she doesn’t like the way they walk, talk or dress, they are uneducated, they are fascists. Hmmm, really? In this country we call people who carry on like that rednecks. I would certainly agree that the French don’t feel that being nice is a positive trait, but I don’t think it’s because they have superior intelligence. While our chain-smoking, diet coke swilling, fashion mag reading neighbor may think she’s the height of sophistication, her liberal, highly educated American neighbors think she comes off as a rude peasant and an annoying bore. She is thin though, I’ll give her that. Unfortunately, the cigarettes that she substitutes for food have given her complexion the texture of an old boot and she looks 20 years older that her age. Very chic indeed.

  17. Isa
    October 3, 2011
    Reply

    Hi
    I’ve just discovered this website and I wish I had met you guys 10 years ago. I’m Australian and I’ve found that, no matter what I do, no matter how nice I am, I just can’t fit in. On top of that, I have only ever lived in a gendarmerie unit or community, so I have had to deal with snobbiness from a smaller community. I tend to avoid other gendarmerie women because it looks like a gossip club more than anything else. Someone said and my husband too that they are jealous of me! Of what? Can you imagine, we are at a party, the women walk straight past me but say hello to my French husband. Or, smile at him and stop smiling when they see me. I was starting to think something was wrong with me, was it my big nose, am I too ugly for them, too Aussie???. It’s not funny anymore – so much so I feel like leaving:(

    • Frenchman
      October 12, 2011
      Reply

      Well, maybe you should leave.
      However, this gossipy bitchy attitude that you describe is not just a “French women” thing, but more of a “closed community” thing. I can’t imagine living in a gendarmerie, sounds pretty much as appealing as being in jail.

      • Isa
        October 18, 2011
        Reply

        You’re probably right. Yet there are “closed communities” in Australia but we seem to open up our arms to “new” people. If we see someone that looks a bit left out from the rest of the crowd, we tend to approach them and make them feel comfortable. That’s my experience anyway. My husband saw a huge difference with regard to this in Australia. We have some wonderful French friends who have said that it’s hard to break the barriers in French circles but it’s not impossible.

  18. anne
    May 16, 2012
    Reply

    french women are always competing with other women! they just sit there staring at other women from head to toe! they just sit there seething with hatred at other women. its a hazard to use public transport especially. french women seem jealous and petty. yuk!

  19. ambra
    January 5, 2013
    Reply

    Thank you for the thoughts you shared with us!! I find them very accurate. I have the same issue working with this french girl in nice; i work in a international company, and she’s my direct supervisor. her bitchiness and constant rude remarks are so off putting and offensive that im seriously considering quitting my job.I must confess, it’s good to know other foreigners experienced the same thing, and its not a personal affront…
    once again thanks i really enjoyed the read!!

  20. October 30, 2013
    Reply

    I agree. Having lived in France and now French-speaking Switzerland for 3 years now, French women are truly bitchy, insecure and competitive. At first I thought it was only Parisians but nope, it’s nearly all of them. The nicer one are usually the older, married ones with kids but if you don’t have kids of your own you can’t exactly befriend them. There are a few rare gems who are nice and not bitchy and insecure but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

  21. Marianne Heide
    November 21, 2013
    Reply

    I used to live with two French girls and I’ve never experienced such subtle mean intrigant ways of being bitchy.
    Out of no reason at all.
    They would speak only French around me even if I asked (plain out) if we could speak English as I do not speak or understand French (I am Danish and we lived together in London).
    I am quite an indepent good-looking girl and that my be the reason for this?
    I did not get a long very well with one of the girls as we are quite different, so they found ways of real adult bullying, it was awful.

    • Marianne
      November 21, 2013
      Reply

      Funnily enough there is no topic coming up googling why are girls from other nations being so bitchy.
      Seriously French girls needs to get over them selves and not compete on beauty, power or trendiness, there are other things in life than who is the coolest most desired by men.
      They are so affected by the masculine sexuality and what it wants, it’s degrading and stupid.

  22. December 22, 2013
    Reply

    I googled ” french women are jealous ” and I found this site!!! So, waaww, I am not the only one having such a bad opinion about them. I have been in France for 7 years and I haven’t made any french friends yet! I am married and have 2 kids and even that makes it impossible to befriend any french mothers. From my experience in France I totally agree with the article and everyone’s else comments here!

    I have been having many problems working in France because of their constant bitchiness and rude remarks to me. For example, It was my first day at work when I had approached a french colleague in order to present myself to her. I said my name and reached out my hand to shake hers. She refused it,got annoyed and just walked off!
    At my son’s school they are cold to me even though I always smile to them saying “bonjour”. They all stand in small circles talking and laughing each other while staring the women from another circle from head to toe!
    It was actually 2 days ago when me and my french husband went to pick our son up at school. The french women that I see every day were there, also waiting for their children.Some of them approached us and only said hello and kissed my husband and ignored me acting as if I was not there.That event actually made me to do a google search about their rudeness!!!

    Happy I am not the only one having such issues with them.

    I am not American 🙂

  23. wilma
    February 2, 2015
    Reply

    Wow!This is soo spot on. Am not American but anglophone from an English speaking country and a whole lot of mix race. The french are amazing people with a beautiful cultrure. However, acheiving this by alienating any new item.
    I could not put words to describe better than this article ,what I was experiencing around them. Am glad I bumped into this post.Currently I am in a french speaking country with many french experts as well. Noticed the no. 123 not all personally but generally they do this to each other as well.
    It’s quite awkward if you’re new and haven’t seen a peculiar human dance like their’s. Lols!I suggest not to dwell or give it time just be you’re self and open you’re eyes.

  24. Holly
    February 10, 2015
    Reply

    I see a lot of woman bashing here and in fairness to women everywhere, and in particular french women ( I am American), where it pertains to poor behavior due to jealousy, the man in the equation, where the woman or women are in committed relationships, has a powerful role to play in mitigating such behavior in his partner by behaving with insight when other women are around, be they “attractive” or not. Surely the role that men play in acting appropriately is huge here and if, overall, french men are culturally ill prepared to handle committed relationships with integrity, it could be that this is affecting the behavior of the women, culturally speaking, in kind. This has to be considered before relentless female bashing can begin, otherwise we are removing a huge component of the cultural chess board and merely blaming one party for the mess.

    Nonethess, I have experienced on numerous occasions the coldness coming from french women and I’ve merely attributed it to my being the “other” and thus a potential threat. I do not believe comparing french women in this regard with american for example holds much power considering the very different social dynamics in either country in terms of how many “melting pots” you see in cities across either country where a whole slew of different ethnicities are intermingling on a daily basis (in france this simply is not the case in the majority of the country outside of major cities, and even then there is a major restriction in terms of what ethnicities are seen and how many different ethnicities are present, outside of Paris perhaps, etc.) People really are people and women will never be completely comfortable with other women around so long as men continue to give them reasons to be uncomfortable and thus create defense measures with which they can arm themselves lest they face their less than amazing “union” with someone whose wandering eyes leave much more to be desired (it’s more likely a front for a real depression, which could only reveal itself if the hardened exterior were chipped away at…not something most non-frenchies stand a chance at unless there’s a real bond nurtured with time…).

    • Ed
      August 26, 2015
      Reply

      Don’t place the blame on men. It’s the women who are being bitchy. They need to get over themselves!

  25. Jessica
    August 23, 2015
    Reply

    France is great, pity about the french women who are a massive turn off and ruin France

  26. Antoine
    January 23, 2016
    Reply

    As a Frenchman myself, I have to agree with the ladies on this page. In my experience, French women, by and large, are insecure and unhappy. They go out of their way to make up for their intellectual and physical shortcomings by degrading and insulting other women all the while expecting to be praised for it. Personally, I vastly prefer American and other European woman over French women. They have much better personalities, nicer smiles, and are far more voluptuous. 🙂

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